Black Forest Tres Leches Cake

The Black Forest Tres Leches Cake goes beyond the norm of a layered Black Forest Cake. We’re bringing it down to a single layer with intense Cherry and Chocolate Flavors! The Tres Leches makes this cake Irresistibly Luscious and Soft. Without a doubt, it WILL melt in your mouth!

Black Forest Tres Leches Cake | URBAN BAKES

Sheet cakes are probably THE easiest kind of cake known to man-kind. It’s simple with very little effort. No layering involved or elaborate cake design, just plain and simple, literally! And today’s cake is in honor of my Mother. She deserves to be recognized and have the spotlight shine on her. <3

Mommy at From the Rooftop

Recently, I was going through another round of health issues to which my mother traveled from New York to Arizona to check in on my well-being. She was always by my side and was extremely supportive. I can’t thank her enough! Though I was going through a great deal of physical pain from my ongoing back issue, it meant SO much to spend one-on-one time together. We took many photos that I will always hold near and dear to my heart and want to share a few of these photos with you 🙂

Her favorite cake is Black Forest and she loves my Tres Leches Cake so I decided to combine the two. In all honesty, I had every intention of making it before she got into town so no, she never had a piece of this exact cake. We were very busy to the point either I didn’t have time or because the pain was so great, I couldn’t really make much. Knowing her, I wouldn’t be surprised if she reaches out to me asking why I didn’t make it when she was in town, only to bust my chops. HA!

Next time, Mommy… next time 😉

Quickly jumping back onto this cake… what’s really great is having the freedom to decide on how intense you want the cherry flavor while knowing that it won’t have any impact on its texture. And here’s how.

Tres leches cake is known to be a very wet and heavy sponge cake from the amount of milks poured in AFTER it has baked. Adding the cherry liqueur syrup is only a small portion compared to the milks. You have the choice of brushing it on or pouring it into the baked cake. Either way, this will not change the fact that it’s supposed to be a wet Black Forest cake.

Black Forest Tres Leches Cake | URBAN BAKES

If you want a light flavor and I mean very light cherry flavor, you can brush the syrup over the top and discard the rest. Alternatively, if you want a stronger flavor, you may add a touch more of the kirschwasser AKA kirsch liqueur to the syrup or simply pour all of the syrup into the cake or with the tres leches filling. If you decide to pour all of the syrup into the cake, I would advise to keep it at around 1/4 cup of syrup. The idea here is to have a wet cake and not a soggy one.

If you’re new to kirsch, this is a colorless German brandy (AKA cherry water) made from a double distillation of Morello cherries with their stones. It does not have a sweet taste therefore, sugar is needed to sweeten the flavor and to help create the syrup.

From here you’ll want to pour in the tres leches and allow it to soak into the sponge for a few hours. I like to eat cake either warm or at room temperature however, this version is best eaten chilled and stored in the fridge.

Traditional black forest will have a cherry fruit filling between the cake layers. For the simplicity of keeping this as a sheet cake, you can see how adding a fruit filling would be an obstacle so I went without it. But to keep the classic look of a black forest, fresh cherries, shaved chocolate and whipped cream was added. The finishing touches were my favorite part, so quick and easy.

The next time my mother comes to visit, she’ll probably ask me to make this again, just for her!

Black Forest Tres Leches Cake | URBAN BAKES

Did you enjoy this recipe? Consider rating and commenting below. I love to hear your feedback and help answer your questions. Thank you!

Gallery of photos from my Mother’s stay in Arizona…

My mother’s company came and went too fast. So much happened during her stay but the one thing I wanted was to make her stay more comfortable by redesigning my balcony before she arrived. Unfortunately, due to the extreme amount of pain, I wasn’t able to walk around or stand up for more than 15 minutes before my back gave out.

Mother’s sure know how to read their children. Without me saying anything, she already knew I wanted to redesign this space. Little did I know, she thrives on home design. She saw my empty balcony and went straight to work. We laid out the turf, assembled the patio furniture and hung up small outdoor lights. Then, we quickly realized the area needed more of a “night sparkle” [candles]. On our last night together, we went to one of our favorite stores, TJMaxx. We purchased a few decorative items but there was one piece in particular which really stood out, the wooden plate (below).

Though I didn’t buy it (it was heavy as heck!), I found myself resonating with the message as I found it to be calming and very heartfelt. I took a picture of it to keep the message with me. She made my apartment feel more like a home as we shared our thoughts and dreams of our future. As my mother’s stay in Arizona was coming to an end, bumping into the message on the plate was a nice reminder of how much my mother has influenced me and how much I love her dearly. <3

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Black Forest Tres Leches Cake by URBAN BAKES

Black Forest Tres Leches Cake

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  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 4 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 9 x 13 inch 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Going beyond the norm of a layered Black Forest Cake, we’re bringing it down to a single layer with intense Cherry and Chocolate Flavors! The Tres Leches makes this cake Irresistibly Luscious and Soft. Without a doubt, it WILL melt in your mouth!




  • 2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (333 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (6 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)


  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) maraschino cherry juice, optional
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) cherry kirsch liqueur


  • 1 1/2 cups (354 grams) evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can (396 grams) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup (177 grams) oat milk or regular milk


  • 1 cup (240 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (12.5 to 25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) fresh cherries



  1. CAKE: Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Using a baking spray with flour, coat the bottom and sides of a 13×9 in (33×23 cm) baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together all cake ingredients, except eggs, on low to medium speed until smooth.  Mix in eggs one at a time until well combined. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes.  Using a long-tined fork, poke the hot cake about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. 
  4. SYRUP: In a small saucepan over medium to high heat, mix sugar, water and maraschino cherry juice together.  Bring the mixture to a soft boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from heat and transfer the syrup into a shallow bowl.  Mix in liqueur.  Add more liqueur about 1 tablespoon at a time if a stronger flavor is desired. 
  5. Using a pastry brush, dip into the syrup and brush coat the surface of the cake. Reserve the remainder of the liqueur mixture.   
  6. FILLING: In a medium bowl, whisk all filling ingredients together. If desired, mix in 1/4 cup of the remaining cherry syrup.  Evenly pour filling onto the cake. Cover the cake with aluminum foil making sure the foil does not touch the cake.  Allow the cake to chill in the fridge for 3 hours or until most of the milk mixture is absorbed into the cake. 
  7. TOPPING: In a chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream, sugar and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Frost the top of the cake, decorate with chocolate curls and cherries. Serve chilled and store covered in the refrigerator. ENJOY!


Tres Leches translation is Three Milks and though oat milk is not a “true” milk, you may opt for regular milk. In the images, I used oat milk.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes

Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Strawberry Tuxedo Cake.

Recipes Using REAL Cherries

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4 thoughts on “Black Forest Tres Leches Cake”

    1. The syrup will amount to about 1/2 cup or slightly over. But this is really dependent on if you want to add maraschino juice or if you want to add more liqueur. If you want to include the syrup in with the tres leches, I recommend using only 1/4 cup of syrup. You want to be sure not to add too much liquid onto the cake to prevent it from becoming soggy. Good luck… Happy Baking!

  1. Hi! Can I reduce the sugar from 1 2/3 cups (333 grams) granulated sugar to maybe 1 cup or max 1 1/3 cup OR will the texture be altered? My family hates overly-sweet desserts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Monika, Though I haven’t tested this cake with less sugar, you should be okay to reduce it to 1 1/3 cup or 1 1/4 cup. This shouldn’t alter the cake’s texture or flavor. With the amount of sugar in the sweetened condensed milk, this will keep it sweet enough. 🙂

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